The student body packed McCarthy Quad Saturday night for the annual Welcome Back Concert put on by the USC Concerts Committee and USC Program Board. This year, the bands Carlton and Mora Mora kicked off the night and set the stage for EDM DJ and headliner R3HAB.
Carlton, a pop band from Washington D.C. founded in 2012, originally got together in the summer of 2009 under the name Mercury in Summer before relocating to the West Coast. The constantly improvising Carlton will return to USC on Aug. 30 for a show at Tommy’s Place.
Mora Mora, who took the stage soon after Carlton, is a rock quintet from Los Angeles founded in October 2012. Mora Mora is a five-piece band who began jamming in their garage before they became successful.
Both bands have played at USC before, garnering a local fan base.
The headliner, R3hab, who won the 2012 IDMA Best Breakthrough Artist Award and plays a weekly show on SiriusXM, dropped the first beats just past 9 p.m., and played until he was pulled off the stage at 10:45 p.m.
“It felt like everyone was really excited for R3hab. People were jumping up and down and going crazy,” said Will Lichtenger, a sophomore majoring in business administration. “People were packed into the quad and kept cheering for an encore, even after he already played one.”
R3hab heard about the encore and responded to the enthusiastic crowd.
“I really want to keep playing for you all, but they are telling me I have to stop!” R3hab told the crowd.
R3hab, whose real name is Fadil El Ghoul, combined fog machines, confetti cannons and a giant inflatable whale to deliver a performance that might have even cleared Leavey Library and surely kept anyone still in Birnkrant Residence Hall wide awake.
Those who helped to make the concert happen were proud of their efforts.
“The opening bands were amazing. I was impressed with the crowd we had for them given that it was so early in the night,” said Anna Romanoff, Director of Public Relations for Program Board’s Concert Committee. “Everyone was a pleasure to work with and R3hab gave an amazing show … production was really impressive and all went smoothly.”
This year’s concert was considered a success by many students.
“I fondly remember my first Welcome Back concert, and this one seemed a lot more energetic,” said Ross Lindly, a junior majoring in music industry. “What I liked about the show this year was the diversity among the three acts; Carlton and Mora Mora’s distinctly unique styles played nicely with R3hab’s climactic hour-and-a-half electronic set. From start to finish, I really enjoyed myself, and it looked like everyone else did too.”
The leading reaction to the concert came from the headliner himself.
“USC USC USC!!!,” R3hab posted to his twitter page. “I been to a lot of parties but this was definitely one of the wildest crowds ever!!”
Follow Nathaniel Haas on Twitter @Haas4Prez2036